Revisiting the Past: Revising My Novel Green Fire

Some background:

I’ve been writing since 1995 and been published in e-books/indie press since 1998.  In that time period, I’ve done a lot of  writing and have published every book I have completed. We won’t discuss the ones that are still notes or half-finished because another plot bunny came along and distracted me—Bunny!!—or because my Muse left the building. 🙂

In all I have written 20 novels,  6 novellas, and 3 short stories — and all are in print BUT FOR ONE — and that one is Green Fire, my 2003 paranormal romantic suspense release from the former indie press, LTDBooks (Canada).

[Left: New cover for Green Fire, designed by April Martinez, Copyright, 2011.]

When LTDBooks closed its  doors at the end of 2005, it was a sad day — I adored the owner (love you, Laura!) and had great experiences at LTD. My rights to all my books published at LTD were immediately given back. My Gooden & Knight books went to Liquid Silver Publishing without any changes. Then I fairly quickly revised and self-published Fatal Vision and Death Benefits.

But not Green Fire. 

I had to put Green Fire on the back-burner, because I’d found great success with my Security Specialist International and Prime Chronicles series. The fan demand and that of my publisher was such that I devoted all my time to putting out books in those two series. Revised versions of previously published books were not a high priority.

In 2011, I finally had reached a point where I had a large enough gap between series books — or so I thought– to devote a few weeks to do a clean edit and then get Green Fire back out there. Um, no.

I began a Green Fire revision and found it taking a lot of time. I had pressure to get to work on Prime Selection (#2 in that series) since my Prime fans had been so patient while I whipped out Eye of the Storm (#1) and Stormy Weather Baby (#1.5) in my SSI series. Since that time — between parent deaths, son moving clear across the country, husband’s major surgery, a bunch more SSI books and another couple of Prime books — and a Kindle World book for Robyn Peterman’s Magic & Mayhem World — I just shelved Green Fire as a To-Do project.

So here I am in 2017 working on it again.  You’d think it shouldn’t take much, right?  After all, this is a book that was accepted and edited by LTDBooks, published to decent reviews back in 2003, and was a finalist in the Dream Realm Contest, paranormal division in 2003. I even went to ArmadilloCon for the awards ceremony (lost, but, hey … finalled!). Plus, I had gotten a bit of a start on the revision back in 2011. I wasn’t working with a blank slate here.

Short answer:  It’s not an easy revision. To use one of my favorite phrases, “I’ve slept since then,” — then being when I first wrote the book in 2002-2003.

I’ve been an Acquisitions and a Copy Editor, read/studied writing techniques, taught writing, critiqued a lot of other authors’ books, and written a shit ton of books since 2003.  I know I am a better, cleaner, tighter writer than I was way back in the beginning. Plus, romance readers’ tastes have changed.

This is an issue for any author who republishes long out-of-print books — do I leave it as originally written?– OR — do I clean house and bring it up to date for the current romance reading population?

So, what’s the problem with this specific book?

Long answer:   Green Fire was the fourth book I had written.  At that point in time, I was still doing the Nora Roberts’ head-hopping thing (BTW, Nora can get away with it; most other authors … not). Multiple points of view even when not head-hopping. Overuse of adverbs. Redundancy. Repetitiveness. Passive voice. And the odd wandering body part. Plus, nit-picky things most readers wouldn’t notice,  but I do. Yes, I am anal.

My decision: This book needed a complete overhaul so I could claim it anew with some semblance of pride.  I had started on some of the POV issues back in 2011.  Figured out early on that the way I wrote the book, I couldn’t really get rid of all the POV characters, but, at least, I wouldn’t head hop with them.

I even had my fave final line editor (love you, Ezra!) take a whack at a semi-revised revision. Bless him, he made judicious edits, but was concerned about changing my story, my voice — and that was the correct thing for him to do.

After fixing what he found and re-reading it, I decided it needed a more extensive revision. Enough more that when I republish it will need a new copyright since there will be enough textual changes such as deletions, new material, and extensive rewriting to demand such (you can edit a book and keep the same copyright number if the changes are technical such as typos and the like).

This is where I am now:  I am touching every page and revising/editing/rewriting.

To keep this revision on track, I am doing a chapter a day. On the days I can’t do a chapter, I make it up the next time I hit the computer. At this rate, I should have a final revised copy to send to my crit buddy (love you, Cheri!), who will then eviscerate it, and I then will accept or reject her evisceration and prepare a final version for publication.

Bottom line, I still like the book’s basic concept and plot. A lithomancer heroine, i.e., she controls stone energy or magic. Lots of action and suspense with the heroine inheriting the family land and becoming the person in her family who protects the family’s legacy and is destined to produce the next generation. The hero is a DEA agent who has magic of his own and his magic complements the heroine’s — together they are stronger than alone. Bad guys abound: evil boss from heroine’s past, drug cartel leader who’s discovered the secret on the land the heroine inherits and wants it, and the cartel minions who try to obtain the land and one of which has his own agenda. Oh and an honorable good guy law officer (yes, he needs his own book — not sure it’ll ever happen) who falls for the heroine and loses out. Basically, your typical Monette Michaels’ book.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck. I hope to have the improved Green Fire out before the end of the summer. Well, let’s put it this way, I have to get this done and soon, since  I have a Prime book (Damon and Susa’s story) to write by the end of the year. There’s always another book waiting to be written.

Original Green Fire Blurb (yes, this needs to be revised, too!) :

Lisa MacDougall is not your normal jewelry designer. Her genetic ability to sense which gemstones complement her clients’ chakras has made her designs famous. Increasingly, her job at Romanoff’s Jewelry Store in New York City has become uncomfortable with Andrei Romanoff’s aggressive sexual overtures. Her inheritance from a previously unknown relative in North Carolina couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lisa picks up stakes and moves to the Blue Ridge tourist town. Here she discovers her ability to read crystal energy is just the tip of the iceberg and that her Uncle Lon has left her more than just a quaint mountain property.

DEA Agent Marco Santiago is on the trail of the Verde Fogate drug cartel. A raid on a Miami warehouse goes bad, and all the DEA finds after months of planning is a lead to a lawyer in Ben Lomond, North Carolina and the words “green fire.” Marco and his partner head for the Blue Ridge Mountains to get to the bottom of what the cartel finds so interesting in Ben Lomond.

Marco finds that the woman who possesses the “green fire” is his complement in magic. But before Lisa and he can look toward a future together, they both must deal with evil from their past.

 

[Right:  Original Green Fire cover, Ariana Overton, Copyright, 2003]

Excerpt (unedited from the current revision):

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”
Lon MacDougall halted his nocturnal patrol. Standing under the denuded branches of an oak, he knew he was a sitting duck for the men who stalked him, but he’d had enough of their games. His affairs were in order. They wouldn’t get the land and the treasure it sheltered, the treasure he’d protected since the day his older brother Rob had left North Carolina, turning his back on his birthright.

Wheezing heavily then wincing at the sharp pain caused by the cancer eating away at his insides, Lon moved from his quasi-shelter and headed back toward his cabin. He silently chuckled as his shadowers followed. Stumbling silently over a small rise in the land, Lon swore. In younger, healthier days, he’d have moved through the night like a bobcat, silent and lethal. No way would some damn foreigners have been able to stalk him on his own land. But the cancer had ended all that.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Tonight, he’d die. He’d chosen his manner of death—the quick death of a defender rather than the inevitable slow torture of the disease. The bastards didn’t know it, but they were doing him a favor.

Reaching the porch of his ancestral home, Lon stopped, then smiled. Yes, the land would be safe now. With Rob long since dead, he’d finally tracked Rob’s child to New York City. It had taken him almost a year to find the last surviving MacDougall. His brother had done what he’d sworn he would never do—produced an heir.

And the heir had the power.

The poor fools trying to get the land and the treasure it sheltered would never know what hit them. Lon frowned, wishing he could push fate off a little bit longer, wishing he could be around to help Rob’s child acclimate. Well, he’d done the best he could. The land was in the heir’s name. The tools the heir would need to learn to harness the power were safely away from North Carolina, awaiting the word of his death. He’d done all he could.

The rest would be up to her—Rob’s daughter.

Lon’s still keen eyesight pierced the dark shadows within the forest, zeroing in on movement where there should be none. The night air resonated with the sound of stealthy footsteps. Lon shook his head and sighed. Yep, too bad he wouldn’t be around to help her. He turned to meet death head on. A sound like a hornet. The prick of a dart. It was over that quickly.

As Lon fell off the porch onto the pine-needle-covered ground, he smiled. He’d won; they’d lost—and they didn’t even know it.

“Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight…”

Monette Michaels, Copyright, 2017.

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~ by Monette Michaels on July 15, 2017.

One Response to “Revisiting the Past: Revising My Novel Green Fire”

  1. Congratulations and good luck! It’s a great premise. Make it happen! ❤

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